10 Things You Didn’t Know about Fortive CEO James Lico

James Lico

James Lico is the head of Fortive. There are a lot of corporations that choose to specialize in particular products in particular fields, but Fortive isn’t one of them. Instead, it is an industrial conglomerate that encompasses a wide range of business units united by their shared business culture.

1. Went to the University of Michigan

Education-wise, Lico went to the University of Michigan for his Bachelor of Science. It is interesting to note that said school started out as the Catholepistemiad, which had professorships with names such as Anthropoglossica for Literature and Catholepistemia for Universal Science. The people of those times didn’t react much better than how their counterparts would’ve reacted in the present, as shown by how the government intervened in 1821 to change the school’s name to the University of Michigan.

2. Went to Northwestern University

In time, Lico went to Northwestern University where he earned his master’s degree in management. Presumably, he did so at the Kellogg School of Management, which is a business school of note. In part, this is because while a lot of business schools encourage competition between their students, the Kellogg School of Management encourages cooperation between its students instead. Something that has contributed to a considerable change in the perception of teamwork in the business world.

3. Was With Danaher Corporation

Lico has held a number of positions with a number of other companies before becoming the head of Fortive. The most important of these positions would be the ones that he held with the Danaher Corporation, which is a U.S. conglomerate centered on its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Primarily, this is because Lico came to Fortive via Danaher because Fortive was spun off of Danaher so that both companies could become more responsive in their respective fields for better performance than otherwise possible.

4. Has Experience with Overseeing Operations in Emerging Markets

Over the course of Lico’s time with Danaher, he took on a wide range of responsibilities. For example, he has overseen Danaher’s operations in multiple emerging markets such as China, India, and the Middle East. Something that is valued by a lot of companies out there. After all, while there are plenty of companies that are doing just fine by focusing on the United States as well as other developed countries, emerging markets can represent incredible opportunities for the companies that choose to enter them. Of course, such results on reliant on such companies being able to handle these markets’ particular challenges in an adept manner, thus making relevant expertise and experience very important indeed.

5. Has Experience with Three Fields In Particular

Speaking of which, it is important to note that while Lico was still with Danaher, he became experienced with three fields in particular, which would be test and measurement, transportation technologies, and industrial technologies. It seems safe to say that this experience was one of the reasons that Lico winded up as the head of Fortive, seeing as how it has business units in automation, sensing, and transportation.

6. Interested in the Internet of Things

Since Lico is the head of a huge corporation, it should come as no surprise to learn that he pays close attention to a number of trends that could have consequential effects for his revenue-earning operations. For example, Lico is interested in the Internet of Things, which is a scenario in which normal items have computing devices embedded in them, thus enabling them to send data as well as receive data with minimal human input. Theoretically, the Internet of Things could make for efficiencies in a remarkable range of processes, but it remains to be seen how well it will be able to live up to the full extent of its hype.

7. Interested in Software-Enabled Workflows

On a related note, Lico is interested in software-enabled workflows as well. For those who are unfamiliar, a workflow is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, a sequence of events by which a particular piece of work proceeds from the start to the finish. There has been immense interest in studying workflows for the purpose of coming up with improvements for them ever since the concept started seeing use. However, the invention of workflow management systems means that businesses are now able to do more in this regard than ever before.

8. Interested in Data Analysis

Besides the previous two examples, Lico is interested in data analysis as well. Of course, data analysis has been a thing for a very, very long time indeed. However, computerization enables modern businesses to capture more data about their customers as well as the rest of their revenue-earning operations than what their predecessors would have ever expected even in their wildest dreams. More importantly, computer systems make it possible for modern businesses to actually process this immense volume of data into something usable, which is why data analysis has popped up in just about every sector that can be found out there.

9. Using a Combination of Methods to Embrace Trends

Naturally, Lico has chosen to embrace these trends for the purpose of capitalizing on their opportunities as well as preventing their risks. However, it should be mentioned that he is using a combination of methods for said purpose, which range from buying businesses with relevant specializations to boosting internal innovation by setting up a startup incubator.

10. Believes In Being the “Chief Optimist”

Like a lot of CEOs, Lico stresses the importance of people. This makes sense because even from the coldest point of view, people matter for business because they are one of the chief inputs for revenue-earning operations. Having said that, it is interesting to note that one example of Lico’s belief in the importance of other people is his insistence on being the “chief optimist.” Essentially, this means that he think that one of his most important duties as a CEO is to inspire other people with a belief in the potential of Fortive by being optimistic, thus encouraging them to do their best.


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